BY building positive relationships with others, we will be happier and more fulfilled and feel more supported, supportive, and connected.
“The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people.”—Theodore Roosevelt
One of the most profound experiences we can have in our lives is the connection we have with other human beings. Positive and supportive relationships will help us to feel healthier, happier, and more satisfied with our lives. So here are a few tips to help you to develop more positive and healthy relationships in all areas of your life:
1. Accept and celebrate differences. One of the biggest challenges we experience in relationships is that we are all different. We can perceive the world in many ways. Certainly a stumbling block that we come across when we try to build relationships is a desire or an expectation that people will think like we do and, in this way, it is so much easier to create a rapport. We feel more comfortable when we feel that people “get” us and can see our point of view. Life however, would be very dull if we were all the same and, while we may find it initially easier, the novelty of sameness soon would wear off. So accepting and celebrating that we are all different is a great starting point.
2. Listen effectively. Listening is a crucial skill in boosting another person’s self-esteem, the silent form of flattery that makes people feel supported and valued. Listening and understanding what others communicate to us is the most important part of successful interaction and vice versa.
Active or reflective listening is the single most useful and important listening skill. In active listening, we also are genuinely interested in understanding what the other person is thinking, feeling, wanting, or what the message means, and we are active in checking out our understanding before we respond with our own new message. We restate or paraphrase our understanding of their message and reflect it back to the sender for verification. This verification or feedback process is what distinguishes active listening and makes it effective.
3. Give people your time. Giving time to people is also a huge gift. In a world where time is of the essence and we are trying to fit in more than one lifetime, we don’t always have the time to give to our loved ones, friends, and work colleagues. Technology has somewhat eroded our ability to build real rapport and we attempt to multi-task by texting and talking at the same time.
Being present in the time you give to people is also important, so that, when you are with someone — you are truly with someone and not dwelling in the past or worrying about the future. The connection we make with other people is the very touchstone of our existence, and devoting time, energy, and effort to developing and building relationships is one of the most valuable life skills.